Monday, October 24, 2016

The Halloween List: The Guest

The Guest s another of those movies I watched knowing nothing about. It's such a pleasure to take recommendations from friends and find out the premise of a movie as it unfolds. This is a particularly nimble film with a very sticky opening, and if you want to just dive into a Thriller this weekend, The Guest is a good shot.

My vague first paragraph out of the way: The Guest is about a family mourning the death of their oldest son, and are interrupted by a mysterious stranger who says he deserved in the military with him. He quickly ingratiates himself with stories and awkward politeness, and whenever their other children get in trouble, he's there to help. Except in breaking up a fight, he's surprisingly vicious. Often we catch him watching the family with dead eyes, like everything he's doing is an act. But if it is, then why is he here?
It feels like a piece of 80's B-cinema, a worthy successor to The Stepfather, except the dangerous man is this time filling the empty role of a brother. It's greatly helped by a synth-heavy soundtrack that tickles at the Stranger Things part of your brain.
He's not just a stalker - he intervenes with a school principle, local drug dealers, and a misbehaving boyfriend as though he really has the family's best interests in mind. But he'll kill to preserve those best interests. You're waiting for either a secret malice or his overprotectiveness to boil over when the family's daughter calls the military. Just one phone call scrambles people through the chain of command, until Fringe's own Lance Reddick shows up to rein the mystery man in. It's a lot of fun pretending the movie is a secret episode of Fringe.
You can go back and forth over whether this is Horror - it's more of a cheesy Thriller with moments of high intensity, and that happens to take place on Halloween. But by the end, it completely validates itself as an October watch. We have to hunt a bad guy through the school's freaking Haunted House display!

Our Line-Up This Week

Since Halloween comes early next week, I'm packing features into this one! I'll have posts every day, including two longer pieces on sexuality and ableism in recent popular films. What are you looking forward to this week?

Tomorrow: Under The Skin Vs. It Follows (Vs Sexuality)

Wednesday: Green Room (AKA Patrick Stewart as a Horror Movie Villain?)

10 Cloverfield Lane Vs. Don't Breathe (Vs. Ableism)

Friday: We Are Still Here  


  1. Movies like that could go either way, but it sounds better than the title suggests.

  2. Hmm.
    It seems I am a wimp. Giant beasties, zombies et al don't bother me. People behaving badly do.


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